The French Maison Van Cleef&Arpels is recognised all over the world for its exquisite and poetic jewels. For their latest collection, they have turned to the seas for inspiration. The ever-changing spectacle of waves, the peaceful shores, foaming waters and changing colours have all been transformed into the high-jewellery collection entitled the ‘Alhambra‘.
Nicolas Bos, President and CEO of Van Cleef&Arpels jewelry, talks about the new collection, inspirations for the distinct jewels and the signature style of the Maison and his vision for the House.
Bealla: What guides the style of Van Cleef&Arpels jewelry and its creations? What aspects of design, style and identity have remained steady over the years?
Nicolas Bos : The maison stands out for a recognisable signature style – treatment of movement, asymmetry or transformability – and the unique sources of inspiration that are nature, poetry, couture, ballet and imaginary worlds. Van Cleef & Arpels Alhabra Jewelry is noted for its remarkable and innovative techniques, the exceptional quality of stones and virtuoso craftsmanship of its Mains d’Or (Golden Hands). Together, these features give birth to the uniqueness of the maison that seems to lie in timelessness and elegance.
We have also developed more accessible collections such as Van Cleef & Arpels Perlee Necklace, Cosmos or Alhambra that also encapsulate the high jewellery savoir-faire of the maison. In terms of watchmaking, the maison is quite singular in its expression of the passage of time with unique poetic complications and extraordinary dials, including iconic timepieces such as Cadenas, Charms and Pierre Arpels.
Bella: Let’s talk about the Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection. What criteria did you follow while choosing the seas – Black Arabian, Mediterranean, Red, Adriatic etc.?
Nicolas Bos : For each of the Alhambra collection, we thought about what they represent in the collective unconscious: symbols, colours and shapes. We have been trying to interpret each of the seas in a high Van Cleef & Arpels jewellery way. For instance, we have used white and gray cultured pearls for the Van Cleef & Arpels Bracelet, inspired from the architecture of Bulgaria, in the Black Sea chapter. For the Adriatic Sea, we have used turquoises to symbolise the lagoons of clear water and verdant shorelines in the tranquility of a summer’s day.
Bella: What is your personal favourite clover theme from the collection? And what sea do you prefer to go for a vacation to?
Nicolas Bos : I particularly like the chapter inspired by the Black Sea, which triggers imaginations of a mysterious fairy tale. On a personal note, my favourite destination remains the Caribbean Sea for its wild beaches and warm waters.
Nicolas Bos : This is the first time I have seen such a variety of Van Cleef & Arpels Clover necklace in one Van Cleef&Arpels collection. What prompted this?
Nicolas Bos : The use of pearls has appeared to us as an evidence for this collection: they come from the oceans and recall the shell they are extracted from. Pearls have the extraordinary ability to illuminate the design, when alternated with other precious or hard stones. Besides, they add a very feminine touch to the Van Cleef&Arpels jewellery.